|Coachie - copyright KeithSkeltonPhoto.com|
As I opened up the door to the pen, a handful of peanuts in hand, just the smell of the peanuts nearly started a War of the Flock. Jersey, the Black Jersey Giant, came running toward me like a chicken on a wild rampage. I leaned down toward her. She pecked the peanuts from my hand as fast as she could to score as many as possible before the others. Being the grande dame of the flock, she also maneuvered her large feathery backside to effectively block the other hens until she had her fill.
Coachie, the more reserved and shy of the Foursome Flock, hung back until I stepped aside and offered her some of the tasty treat. Just like the others, she pecked away to her heart's content.
Even Diamond, the bantam Silver-Spangled Hamburg, loved them. The only thing was that the peanut was a bit too big for her mouth, so I had to split the peanuts in two, "spoon-feeding" them to Diamond one half at a time.
Feeding chickens unique treats provides for a giggle-full morning. Just a couple of weeks ago, I gave the hens some nonfat yogurt. The yogurt went a'flying when the hens shook their heads to get it off their beaks. Sunflower seeds are a big-time hit. Pomegranate seeds, too. I can only hope that as they peck these bright red biblical treasures, that they're also downing some vital nutrients and antioxidants (that's if chickens require antioxidants...)
Backyardchickens.com has a wonderful treat chart. They advise against feeding chickens anything salty. They also advise against feeding chickens green potatoes, citrus, avocado skin and pit, candy, and chocolate and sugar. Jaki in Portland, Oregon, who has raised chickens for over 40 years, said that onions don't sit well with hens. And, the other day, while trading chicken stories with Kim, a colleague from northern California, she asked, "Have you fed your chickens mealworms yet?" I shook my head. "They are my chickens absolute favorite treat," she said.
Unable to get to the pet store today to stock up for the "disgusting" treats, I did notice as I was checking out at the garden shop that there was a box labeled, "Live Worms" next to the register.
"I'll take one of those," I said to the clerk. Now, I can't wait for tomorrow morning. Sun up means a whole new experience with a whole new treat. More on that later...
P.S. Joe from Facebook checked in and said, "From my garden, I'll provide damaged or fallen tomatoes....they go absolutely crazy for tomatoes. Yes, you are right, uncooked potatoes and some other organics foster salmonella and other bad things that can enter the flock and go into the eggs. Have fun on the worm feeding :) A friend of mine lets his chick'ns out in the back yard, there isn't a rolly-polly, earwig, worm, spider anywhere in his yard now ;)"